SM Policy

In this post we will look at the most important factors you need to consider when developing a social media policy for your business.

1. Have a social media strategy. How is social media going to be used for your business?

  • Brand/Product promotion
  • Customer service
  • Lead generation
  • Driving web traffic

2. Are you going to have a strict or relaxed approach to social media? Let’s look at the pros and cons of both approaches:

Relaxed

Pros

  • Allows employees to express themselves
  • Promotes creativity
  • Develop closer, more personal relationship with customers
  • Promotes sharing of expertise

Cons

  • Not everyone uses common sense
  • Inappropriate sharing, proprietary info disclosed, other employees undermined, misrepresented
  • Negative impact on company brand if it goes wrong (think viral potential of social media)

Strict

Pros

  • Minimises company exposure to proprietary, copyrighted, sensitive and confidential info being shared
  • Protects employees from inappropriate behaviour on the part of others
  • Creates understanding on what is acceptable/not acceptable
  • Ensures more consistency in behaviour, communications

Cons

  • Stifles creativity, passion, sharing of expertise
  • Big Brother syndrome
  • Employees can feel they are treated like juveniles
  • Losing out on the benefits of social media

For further reading, here’s a good article on why your employees are your best social media advocates.

3. Very importantly, clarify what your social media policy applies to. For example it could apply to:

  • All blogs, social networks, forums hosted or sponsored by the Company
  • Employee postings regarding company’s business, products, employees, partners,competitors on: 
    • personal or external blogs/websites, forums, social networks such as Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn, Pinterest, video or picture sharing networks.

4. Specify who owns what:

  • The ownership of Company blogs, Facebook/Twitter accounts etc. belongs to the company, and NOT the employees whose current responsibilities include posting to and monitoring these accounts.

​5. Confidential and Proprietary Information

  • Specify that employees never share any confidential or proprietary information using social media – either publicly or privately.
  • The privacy rights of other employees and customers must be protected
  • If  an employee owns a web site, blog or Twitter account and  intends to mention the company and / or current and potential products, employees, partners, customers, and competitors, he/she must:
    • identify that he/she is an employee of the company and that the views expressed are personal and do not represent the views of the company
  • Commentary, content, or images that are defamatory, pornographic, proprietary, harassing, libelous can lead to disciplinary action or legal action from employees, competitors and others.

​6.   Decide on Who is responsible for managing, participating in Social Media

  • Who is most suited to dealing with customer service issues, product promotion, general enquiries, PR etc.

7. Monitor Social Media

  • See what is being said about your company, products, employees
  • Many free tools available
    • Google Alerts
    • Hootesuite
    •  Icerocket
    • Social Mention

8. Provide Training

  • Make training available for those who want to participate
  • Provides employees with a better understanding of the various social networks,  how best they can be used, potential pitfalls etc.

For training and advice on Social Media Marketing and Policy, contact Noel @ noel.mcgrath@smeconnect.ie.  Follow me on Twitter: www.twitter.com/mcgrathnoel